Pax Vobis

Pax vobis or VOBISCUM (i.e. Peace be to you), was an ordinary salutation among the ancient Christians. It was addressed by the bishop or pastor to the people at his first entrance into the church, a practice which is frequently mentioned by Chrysostom, who derives it from apostolic practice. The same form of salutation was employed in commencing all the offices of the Church, but more especially by the reader when beginning the reading of the Scriptures. The custom continued in the African churches until the third Council of Carthage forbade its use by the reader. This form of salutation, "Peace be with you," to which the people usually replied, "And with thy spirit," was commonly pronounced by a bishop, presbyter, or deacon in the church, as Chrysostom informs us. It was customary to repeat the Pax vobis before beginning the sermon, and at least four times in the course of the communion service. It was also used when dismissing the congregation at the close of divine worship. The deacon sent the people away from the house of God with the solemn prayer, "Go in peace." In the Liturgy of the Church of England a similar salutation occurs, "The Lord be with you," to which the people reply, "And with thy spirit." SEE PEACE.

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